Exclusive: GOP senators seek FBI investigation into Biden Pentagon nominee

A group of 18 Republican senators on Tuesday wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray seeking an investigation into President BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE's nominee for a top role in the Pentagon over whether he disclosed or solicited classified information after leaving his government job in the Obama administration.

The senators requested Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.) not advance the nomination of Colin Kahl for under secretary of Defense policy for a full vote until the FBI has completed an investigation, according to a copy of the letter obtained exclusively by The Hill.

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), who led the letter-writing effort, accused Kahl of using social media to disclose classified information.


"These disclosures are extremely concerning and warrant a complete FBI investigation to determine the full scope of the nominee’s mishandling of sensitive national security information, apparently for his own perceived political gain," Hagerty said in a statement to The Hill.

Hagerty and Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Opposition to refugees echoes one of America's most shameful moments White House defends CDC outreach to teachers union MORE (R-Ark.) led the effort to write the letter, and 16 other Republican senators signed on, including Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioAlabama Gov. Kay Ivey signs daylight savings bill Study: Early unemployment cutoff would cost 16M people 0B The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (Fla.), John CornynJohn CornynGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger MORE (Texas), Mike BraunMichael BraunAll congressional Democrats say they have been vaccinated: CNN Let America's farmers grow climate solutions GOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending MORE (Ind.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Seth Rogen says he's not in a feud with 'fascist' Ted Cruz, whose 'words caused people to die' GOP votes to replace Cheney with Stefanik after backing from Trump MORE (Texas), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyNYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force chief: Attacks are 'not new' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan MORE (Mo.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Overnight Defense: Capitol security bill includes 1M to reimburse National Guard | Turner to lead House push against military sexual assault | Pentagon drops mask mandate GOP Rep. Turner to lead House push to address military sexual assault MORE (Iowa) and Rick Scott (Fla.).

The letter cites written responses from Kahl from late last month in which he indicated to senators that an article in The Washington Post in March 2017 was the source of his Twitter posts that day in which he discussed what the senators allege are classified details of a National Security Council committee meeting about a U.S. operation in Yemen.

But the article cited by Kahl does not account for all of the sensitive contents of his tweets, the senators wrote.

They also cited additional tweets from Kahl later in 2017 in which they allege he appeared to confirm leaked classified information related to military options in North Korea and later indicated "multiple" officials within the Trump administration had confirmed the information to him.


"This report should be taken very seriously," Kahl tweeted on Dec. 20, 2017. "There is a contingent at the White House that believes a limited strike is viable and the US can control escalation by threatening regime change if Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnBiden must tell Kim: Begin denuclearization, end dehumanization of North Koreans North Korea has much to consider — when, and if, talks resume Pompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' MORE retaliates. Very dangerous thinking."

“Kahl’s growing record of apparent mishandling of classified information and controlled unclassified information and his evasive response regarding this issue fall short of the standard required for holding one of our nation’s top national security positions," the GOP senators wrote to Wray.

"By apparently soliciting or otherwise receiving classified information and controlled unclassified information from U.S. government officials serving in national security roles and repeatedly posting such information on social media websites, Kahl demonstrated disregard for security protocols that are designed to protect our national security interests,” the senators wrote.

The senators explicitly asked Wray and the FBI to review the highlighted tweets from Kahl, as well as whether he disclosed classified information or uncontrolled classified information on social media after leaving the government, whether he ever received classified information after leaving the government and whether he violated his classified information nondisclosure agreement.

The Senate Armed Services Committee last month deadlocked in a vote on Kahl's nomination to lead the Pentagon’s policy shop. The 13-13 vote meant Kahl's nomination advanced out of committee but will have to overcome an additional procedural hurdle on the Senate floor.


Republicans had originally unified against Kahl after criticizing him for fiery tweets lambasting the Trump administration, as well as his support for the Iran nuclear deal.

During his confirmation hearing, Kahl apologized for the “disrespectful” language in his tweets and pledged to approach the Pentagon job in a nonpartisan way, saying his past government service demonstrates his ability to do so. Democrats largely dismissed criticism of Kahl as hypocritical, saying that GOP lawmakers stayed silent on former President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE’s own inflammatory tweets.

But the new questions surrounding his past tweets are certain to prompt fresh scrutiny from the GOP in the Senate.

Should all 50 members of the Democratic conference continue to back Kahl's nomination, however, he would be confirmed with Vice President Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.